Many see huge potential for unmanned aircraft systems commonly known as drones, delivering medical products, relief materials to war-prone areas with some drones already doing so in Africa and other continent in general.

It is hoped that it can pave the way for longer flights and address safety issue with current transportation challenges faced all over the globe. But despite the negative reputation they have received, the use of drones isn’t all bad. From finding missing people to delivering takeaways, here are some of the ways the unmanned aircraft can be beneficial to human populations.

Drones are used to rescue lives: Several lives would have been lost if drones are not properly utilized. Just last year, a Norfolk man who went missing in June was only found when a police drone spotted him stuck on a marsh. Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras have also been used by police to find missing people in the US.

Mapping for better infrastructure: A lack of precise maps in some countries such as Tanzania presents a significant problem for both the local population and disaster agencies. Satellite imagery is often not good enough to map areas accurately, and aeroplanes are expensive and impractical in areas that are rapidly changing. It is hoped that using relatively inexpensive drones will help local authorities plan vital infrastructure, including roads, pavements, hospitals and schools.

Delivery of medical materials: Recently in the US, a donor kidney has been delivered to surgeons at a US hospital via drone. Also in Ghana, the government has adopted the idea of using drones to transport medical materials to the needed areas. Drones are already being used to transport takeaways in Shanghai China, where food delivery service uses the technology to reduce its operating costs. In Rwanda too, unmanned aircraft are being used to transport more important cargo such as blood and medical supplies. Doctors in rural areas now make an order by text message, and then drones carrying the supplies are catapulted into the air, releasing their delivery when they reach their destination.

Reducing pesticides: Is no longer new that pests reduce crop productions and also add to the farmer’s cost in terms of pesticides quantity used. However, farmers who use drones to spray their crops with pesticide claim they are significantly reducing their use of the chemicals, which could also threaten biodiversity. In theory, using drones to spray crops improves the precision with which pesticides are applied because they are able to distribute them in specific volumes on GPS-defined routes through a field.

Conservation: In Indonesia for instance, drones are being used as a cost-effective way of monitoring the dwindling orangutan population. Drones have also have been used in the country to map the health of forests, showing where illegal logging and poaching is taking place.

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